Americans don’t want to be dragged into war with Iran by Israel. According to recent polls:
- 59% of Americans oppose the United States getting involved if Israel strikes Iran according to the 2012 Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey.
- 55% of Americans say an Israeli strike on Iran would worsen the U.S. military and strategic position in the Middle East according to an October 8 poll released by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA).
- 53% of Americans say Washington should maintain a neutral stance if Israel strikes Iran according tothe PIPA poll. 29% said the U.S. should discourage such action and only 12% said the U.S. should encourage Israel to strike Iran.
But in the Senate, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has a different agenda. This November he is planning to introduce a resolution providing unconditional backing for Israeli military actions against Iran. As NIAC’s Jamal Abdi writes in the Huffington Post, “Graham’s planned measure would outsource the decision about whether the U.S. goes to war to the Israeli prime minister, pledging that if Bibi decides to act — regardless of the consequences and our own calculations — the U.S. will provide money, troops, and political leverage”
Graham, who already used a Congressional resolution to endorse Netanyahu’s redline for war over the President’s, is now attempting to undercut the Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staffs, General Martin Dempsey, who has warned, “I don’t want to be complicit if [Israel] chooses to [bomb Iran.]”
But Graham’s not stopping there. He has suggested that, in 2013, he is lining up plans to pass a formal authorization for the use of military force against Iran. And the supporters of such action are already setting that plan in motion. A September 27 Washington Post op-ed advocates that an “explicit congressional mandate authorizing the use of force unless Iran meets specified requirements would demonstrate to all our resolve to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.” The twist? It was written by Jeffrey Smith and John Bellinger III, two lawyers who work for Arnold and Porter, a registered foreign agent serving as Israel’s largest and longest serving lobbying firm in United States. The firm received over $1.2 million from the Israeli government in 2010 alone.
Barely two weeks later, according to Philip Weiss, there is speculation that Israel’s U.S. embassy may have planted a false story suggesting that the U.S. and Israel had agreed on a plan for limited strikes on Iran. In a recent piece for Foreign Policy, the magazine’s CEO David Rothkopf quotes an unnamed source describing collaborative discussions between the U.S. and Israeli governments regarding a possible joint strike on Iran. The source describes the discussed strike in detail, saying that it would last between “a couple of hours” and a “day or two,” and that it would have a “transformative outcome: saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come.”
But the “scoop” immediately triggered broad skepticism in Washington and accusations that it was planted by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. According to the Philip Weiss, U.S. and Israeli military officials have denied the entire conversation about joint strikes. Weiss notes that, following the publication of the story, Israel’s #2 diplomat in the U.S.–Baruch Bina, whom the White House preferred to deal with over Oren–was transferred to Denmark. Weiss speculates that the “joint strikes” story was planted against Bina’s objections. Allegedly, Bina argued “that it was inappropriate of the ambassador to feed such a line to Rothkopf, because it could only damage U.S.-Israeli relations.”